The first encounter was with my cousins in the second degree. The encounter took place at the highway exit, just like in the movies. We were in our car, parked at the side of the road, and on the opposite side came another car with three gentlemen inside. The car stopped right before our car, and the three came out. I was so moved and nervous, that I was not reacting. Then we greeted, introduced ourselves, and I heard the words "follow me". I did as I was told, entered my car and followed theirs. They were going at a speed that was not so easy for me, since the roads were full of bends. Finally we reached their home.
We came out and aunt Rosaria came forward to meet my mother. That moment was so emotional that I still feel moved now at the memory. I believe the meeting created between them a very special atmosphere, and everything was quiet and then ... after that every day was a festive occasion. The family where we stayed, Rosaria and her husband Ettore, their three sons with their wives and children, Rosaria's brother and mother, who was an aunt to my mother, that is the wife of my grandfather's brother, or wife of the brother of my mother's father (María). So many happy faces, so similar to the face of my grandfather, those clear eyes..., so much love , so much joy, so much readiness , so much care that they offered, how can I explain. Until that moment we were unknown and strangers, after that moment we were part of this large family, how beautiful!!!!!
Of course that Sunday that we arrived it was a coming of people who came to meet us and pay a visit, I finished the day really tired, but full of joy and happiness. I would have liked to remember the names of each and every one, but it was really impossible. I was so happy to hear words in the dialect I heard from my granny Teresa, in my home in Buenos Aires, it was such a familiar atmosphere.
Every day that followed there were visits and meeting again, then get to know the village where my mother was born (the house where she was born still exists, abandoned but it exists), though the house where she lived (which was attached to the house where she was born) does not exist any more, in its place there are long rows of vines (grapevines).
As to the vineyard plants, it was so beautiful to me to see all those fields full of small bare twigs all in a row like spikes in a loom. Every day when we left the home to go and visit some relatives, I saw the vines and every day the branches grew one new leaf or twig. That so beautiful image that rests in my heart, "the force of life towards expression", I saw it verified day by day, with its force, the water, the land and the sun, a new green twig coming out each day, always because of the pulse of life expressing itself. At times I have come to believe that what makes people ill is this inability to express themselves. If we stop vines, with all their life, from expressing, no doubt they will get ill and die before the time established by God's will.
Since my job is mainly understanding people and share their joy, sadness, pain, fears, etc, I always see how important it is for them to express and therefore let their feelings be known, and if one can accompany this process with love, just as farmers accompany the process of the grapevines, no doubt the fruit will be very good. And with people it is in the same way. Do you not believe that if each and every one of us gives the best of himself/herself, what we will get will be wonderful things and the best for all? And, as if they were a consequence and fruit of loving creation, many of our sorrows vanish!! Well, it is just a thought that accompanies me every day in my work, and I wanted to share that with you. As you see, the grapevines left me a new, wonderful example of life.
Encounters followed day after day, we met another wonderful family, Domenico (first cousin to my mother) his mother Angela is a widow and was the wife of my grandfather's brother, Domenico's wife Clara and his children Vito and Stephanie, truly loving and warm creatures, they actually live in Scerni. We also went to Gissi, my mother was also able to meet cousins on her mother's side, well, everything was so really wonderful.
The family organized a reunion in a restaurant in Scerni, to make us welcome, it was so joyous and beautiful, they were so many, I believe about 70 people, a great event. My mother was so happy and excited that i could not believe it. Also came my friend Victor, right from Caldarola for the occasion. How beautiful it is being loved!!!!! Well departure was on Easter Sunday, after the snowy and cold resurrection Saturday. The Via Crucis procession in the village was beautiful, and everything.
What great emotion, you know, the husband to my second degree aunt Rosaria, Ettore, was like a father to me, since my cousins, his children, are my age. It was such a long time that I had not felt the care and dedication that a father has to his children. My father died when I was 12, it was hard at that time, but thanks to the efforts of my mother, my brother and myself, we went along. But it was truly magic for some days to feel again that someone can take care of you like a father does with his son. This trip had so many repercussions, many of them can be seen but others are invisible, but no doubt they are silently working inside our hearts.